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Friend accused of choking Columbus man to death

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A Columbus man was killed during a holiday fight with a longtime friend who had been a groomsman at his wedding, police said.

Kentucky State Police said Aaron Adkins, 29, of East County Road 50 in Columbus, died after being choked during an altercation with Charles P. Wilhere, 45, in the early hours of Memorial Day in Ashland, Kentucky.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Michael Murriell said the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call at Wilhere’s residence in Ashland.

Wilhere, who has been charged with murder, is accused of choking Adkins to the point that it resulted in his May 26 death, Murriell said.

Boyd County Commonwealth Attorney Dave Justice said a bond of $250,000 was set for Wilhere, then revoked because of questions about the suspect’s competency.

Wilhere is being detained in the Boyd County Detention Center pending the outcome of the mental capacity evaluation.

Murriell said Adkins was staying in Ashland with his parents, who live across the street from Wilhere.

“Things got completely out of hand,” Murriell said of the fight. “But as far as why the argument and assault occurred, we are not able to release any specific details.”

Adkins’ widow, Rachel Anderson Adkins, confirmed that the men involved in the fight were friends and that Wilhere had been a groomsman in their wedding.

She said her husband, who is from Ashland, was visiting family over the holiday weekend while she was spending time with friends.

“My husband was a wonderful loving man who made friends with everyone we met, and he touched a lot of people,” she said. “He had never been involved with anything like this before, and this was so undeserved.”

The couple were married in 2011 and moved to Columbus that year after Aaron Adkins took a manufacturing job in the Columbus area. He started working at the Seymour plant of Valeo Sylvania, an automotive technology company, in December.

Rachel Adkins said her husband enjoyed hunting and the outdoors and had been baptized in February.

The Rev. Chuck Coleman of Columbus Community Church said the Adkinses were members of his congregation.

Rachel Adkins, who works at Cummins Inc., said the outpouring of community support has been a great comfort and she plans to stay in Columbus.

“The people at Cummins have been wonderful,” Adkins said. “I couldn’t ask for a better company or community at a time like this.”

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